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Superintendent Reykdal: Opponents paused civility and made it ugly

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, explains the COVID-19 grading guidelines from the OSPI. (Screengrab from waOSPI YouTube)

Washington voters are saying yes to sex education in public schools in early election results. Referendum 90 was perhaps the most controversial issue on the ballot here locally, and it is passing with nearly 60% approval. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal has also survived his challenge from Maia Espinoza.

Reykdal joined the Gee and Ursula Show on KIRO Radio to discuss.

“You know, it took a while for folks to get to the facts of this. There was so much misinformation, and very intentionally by the opposition to it. And it took folks a while. But honestly, I give credit to such a good media in our state that sought truth. And when it was obvious to people what it really was — quality education, age appropriate, locally controlled so parents could opt out — they just overwhelmingly supported it,” he said.

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Considering how contentious it was, Gee asked if Reykdal was surprised to see how partisan the race was for what ideally is a bipartisan role.

“I was a three-term Democrat in the House, but I worked so well with Republicans, and that’s why I’ve always had their support. We, in our first four years as superintendent, passed nearly 30 pieces of legislation, and all but two of them were overwhelmingly bipartisan,” Reykdal said. “So what you do when somebody drags you off the horse and through the horse’s manure as my opponent did, is you get back on it and you do the work of supporting students and communities everywhere, rural communities, suburban, urban.”

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“Every kid is at the center of our work, and we will get back to great bipartisanship,” he added. “But people seem to have this thing in their mind that for a while they can pause civility and decency, and they can tear somebody down and make it partisan, and make it ugly, and then act like nothing happened. So there are definitely some pain points here. I respect the folks who opposed me or even the initiative, and try to make it about a single issue. But we’ll get right back to the work of it, and that’s what matters.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.


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